Fighting climate change requires new urgency and not just more “blah blah blah”
During the past week, on my daily drive to the Alm in my home village, I drove past the river and saw a pair of swans. After two or three days it turned out that the swans hatched this year’s brood of swallows. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for up to 40 days, then the young emerge into the cool and clear early summer river of life.
Seeing the swans brings me great joy every day. I don’t go near her. They are in their world and I am in mine it seems, but they are not, because we all live in this common world.
The imagination of the world created the beauty of the swans. Man’s imagination created the bridge I traveled over. It’s a worthy addition to this world, but our imagination has also created other things, dark things that can threaten these young cygnets. They are the heirs of a world that is changing, a world that needs actions and thoughts of different kinds.
Maybe it was the swans, maybe it was nature at its finest, but I’ve made it a point to read the collected speeches from Greta Thunbergthe young Swedish climate activist.
Greta’s school strikes, which began in August 2018 at the age of 15, began with a call to the Swedish parliament for stronger action on climate change by her own government.
In this digital age, however, word soon got around and Fridays for Future was born when young people around the world protested on Fridays to demand more climate protection.
Thunberg, who is a clear and direct speaker, something I admired reading her speeches, rose to prominence fairly quickly, speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2018. In 2019, the protest movement grew into a large one, with millions of events.
The movement surprised many and, for the first time, brought the world’s children into the debate on climate change.
Thunberg, as she puts it, through her self-proclaimed “gift” of Asperger’s Syndrome, had the ability to see things differently – to bring together the sometimes complex issues of climate change and emissions into a simple dialogue.
She has become the symbol and voice for the change we need.
In her “I’m Too Young To Do This” speech, she addresses the fact that some people think she’s oversimplifying – she just wants greenhouse gas emissions to stop.
The question Thunberg keeps raising in her three-year speeches is: Can we limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels? In short, can we stop the tipping point where the chain reaction evades human control?
She keeps coming back to the fact that she’s a child and that it’s strange that a child has to talk to the world’s politicians and leaders, pointing out that people don’t need to listen if they’re to the scientists the data would listen to her.
She points out that she’s not saying anything new, but I think she’s doing herself a disservice because she’s saying something new – something that needed to be heard.
Her mantra that we must reduce our carbon emissions by at least 50 percent before 2030 is attracting attention. She points out that we emit 42 gigatons of CO2 each year and that in her 2018 ledger, we still had 420 gigatons of carbon dioxide in our carbon budget.
What strikes you when reading these collected speeches is the fact that the timer, the yardstick, gets less and less as the years go through the book. We are constantly emitting carbon dioxide and time is running out.
Thunberg attracts you with her energy and vitality. There’s hope in her anger, if that doesn’t sound like an overly odd statement. The fire that burns her makes those in power feel vulnerable because she speaks truth to power. truth to fire.
The climate crisis is the big issue of our time.
Rachel Carson’s message about the environment and the use of pesticides in her book silent source was initially slammed and ridiculed in the 1960s.
Thunberg is a Carson for a new generation.
The last two years have not been easy for climate action because everything has been constrained by the pandemic and one wonders have we forgotten the climate movement in the last two years? Have we all been sidelined by the pandemic?
It’s true that Thunberg wasn’t as audible during that time, and yet, reading back now, she spoke at COP26 last year. Thunberg then said the conference was “business as usual” and “full of blah, blah, blah.”
Thunberg ends her speech book with a piece from June 2020, a time when I was making my own environmental pilgrimage back home.
She said nature doesn’t act and she’s right. Actions and deeds are now required.
Those swans on the river are special, their young are special, and if we want to make sure the next generation can see the swans the way I see them now, in their un-depleted world, in their environment full of ephemera and trout , we must all become messengers.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-fight-against-climate-change-requires-new-urgency-and-not-just-more-blah-blah-blah-41598199.html Fighting climate change requires new urgency and not just more “blah blah blah”